Wu Hung Lecture: Engaging the Real

In March, I attended Wu Hung’s artist lecture, Engaging the Real: The Three Gorges Dam and Contemporary Chinese Art. I expected to learn about Wu Hung’s art, but instead I learned about four artists that were involved in the art that responded to the construction of the Three Gorges Dam. The Three Gorges Dam was a massive hydroelectric dam that spread across the Yangtze River in China Continue reading

Terry Campbell: No Longer in My Hands

I visited the exhibition of Terry Campbell at Macky Auditorium on the University of Boulder campus. This exhibition was part of the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art at Macky series. First and foremost, this was a new environment for me to view and interpret art in because I was literally the only person in there the whole time. The room was reverberating with the sounds of my pencil touching paper Continue reading

Lecture Review #1: Nao Bustamaste

The artist lecture, “Melted: Plotting Out a Cross-Genre Narrative,” by Nao Bustamante was quite an interesting one, to say the least. Nao is a performance artist who also incorporates other aspects of art like film and fashion. At first, I was very confused as to what was even going on during the lecture. Nao started off in darkness, with just the light from the screen up. Her initial focus was to hypnotize the audience to become her, to see through her eyes, which was difficult for me to do, partly because it was the first time I had ever been “hypnotized” Continue reading

Clyfford Still Museum: Justin Neely

Clyfford Still was a very prominent figure in the progression of art in the 1900’s, whose artistic effect still stands tall amongst art and art scholars of the present day. Throughout his years of stretching and pulling the boundaries of art, he went through several phases of painting. Continue reading

Intellectual Profile Justin Neely

1. Give some basic information about your studies and fields of interest.

I am a senior with a BA in music focusing in classical guitar. I surely appreciate classical music, but find that my true passion lies in live electronic music and funk. I am planning on teaching lessons after I graduate and hopefully be able to make a living playing with my band Eminence Ensemble. I also like to do sketches and doodles. I took a drawing for non-majors class and really learned a lot and have been drawing consistently since.

2. Describe an exhibition that you liked or found impressive. Tell us why. Please provide a link to a website, if possible.

I went to the annual Snow Sculptures in Breckenridge, CO last year around this time and i was blown away! I had never seen three dimensional art at that scale before. The 1st place prize went to a wild dragon-eagle sculpture. The dragon section protruded from the sculpture out toward its audience, while the eagle looked off stoically into the distance. It seemed as though it was a powerful, yet wise contraption of creatures. Second place was a cult like sculpture of what i saw as demons taking the dead away. It struck me because there was a crow inside sitting on a skull as though it was the embodied demons taking life from Earth.

3. Which books did you read of late (art, fiction, non-fiction)? Pick one and go into detail about it.

I do not necessarily take part in reading books, but I listen to a lot of music and I will go into detail about a song i have recently come across. The song “Limit to Your Love” by James Blake strikes my eardrums just right. The whole first part of the song is just piano and vocals. There is so much space in the music, yet it still keeps a very solid pulse. The second section is when the beat comes in and a low bass tone pulses at a fast rate. The two sections repeat and contrast each other beautifully. The simplicity is very tasteful.

4. What are your main interests besides art?

I love to travel. Although I have only been outside the country a few times, I still find it so fascinating to see other parts of the world. I have been to Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Mexico. I am also interested in snowboarding, since i have grown up in Breckenridge my whole life. I also just enjoy being outside, whether its rock climbing, skateboarding, hiking, or just throwing the frisbee, it just feels good to be in fresh air.

5. Which blogs do you check regularly?

This is actually the first blog I have ever been a part of. But I would probably blog about research in space, theory in guitar and

6. Which cultural event has really impressed you lately? This can be a museum, a concert, or anything like that, but also a sports game (if you consider this a cultural event for which there are good reasons). Or anything I am not even thinking of … Again, tell us why.

I witnessed the Broncos vs. Steelers game a couple of weeks ago and i was very impressed. It was the first game that Denver had played well all the way through. Since there was so much argument about whether or not Tebow was good enough, he really came through and beat the Steelers in overtime. Culturally, this was very powerful to the fans of the Broncos. Since their home team played extremely well, it could possibly give the fans hope in other aspects of their life.

7. Please describe briefly an article in a newspaper or a magazine that got you thinking lately. Reading online is fine, and what you introduce here does not have to be about art. If the respective article is available online, please link to it!

Unfortunately, I do not read newspapers or magazines.

8. Please share with us a thought or an idea that really widened your intellectual horizon. Again, this must not be limited to the visual arts. If possible, give a source for this idea so that others know where to go to if they are interested.

I recently read a quote by John Lennon about happiness and was very intrigued. The quote said “When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life” -John Lennon. This made me realize that even though we are all growing older and becoming part of the system, if we lose sight of what makes us happy, then are we really living?

9. Have you been to the Denver Art Museum, MCA Denver and BMoca Boulder? Describe one art object or a show you remember seeing.

I went to the Denver Art Museum sometime last year and saw a film nestled away in this dark room. It was all animated, but the way everything moved and the music that accompanied it was very intense. There were bugs crawling out of the background and just heaps of strange things. I didn’t watch the whole thing because it made me so uneasy that i had to leave. But provoking emotions like those means it is quite a powerful statement.

Terry Smith Post

In this article, Terry Smith describes contemporary art, where it came from and where it’s going. It is obviously very difficult to define, but multiple attempts were evident. Smith states that contemporary art is a piece of art the aims to challenge or question the definition of art itself, which can come in many forms. Since contemporary art has such a wide variety of appearances and effects, there are no specific factors or traits that characterize it. The word “contemporary” can be synonymous  with the word periodlessness. The contemporary movement didn’t start at one moment or from one source, so it hasn’t exactly evolved or dissolved, only grown.

Another definition that the article stated was contemporary art as the product of the exchange, combination, reaction, etc. of artistic ideas. Therefore, a piece that blends styles or genres or nationalities could certainly be considered contemporary art. The definition of contemporary art has expanded so far that some think it will encompass all artistic styles of the future. Also, there have been so many past influences to this style that it is now basically any piece of non-traditional art.

I believe that contemporary art is an ongoing competition for originality. Since the ideas of the past are constantly piling on top of each other, the gaps between them are constantly shrinking. It has led people to experiment with not only different styles or mediums, but different presentations, contexts, and levels of social acceptability. However, I do think that arguing over the definition of a style so enormously broad is somewhat futile. Does it really affect the meaning of the piece by how it is catagorized? Will someone like or dislike a piece more if it’s “contemporary” or not?